February 01, 2004

A Spinner at Large

I just got to Joshua Marshall's recent New Yorker piece entitled Power Rangers. It's hard to know where to begin, the conflict between a leftist sneering at rightists that Clinton was the better imperialist? Or should I first address the orwellian omission of the anti-imperialist right?

In either case, this article is a prime example of the old style of left wing spin. Highlight the right that is most easily defeated and derided and you can safely ignore the inconvenient fact that it is a minority view even inside the right. Be secure in Democrat's anti-imperialist credentials as you slyly have your cake and eat it too quoting Chalmers Johnson's observation that "Bill Clinton was actually a much more effective imperialist than George W. Bush" as if being a more effective imperialist is a sign of merit.

Perhaps, unwelcome reality intruding for a moment, George W. Bush is not a very effective imperialist because he doesn't want to be an imperialist? But that would break the cardinal rule of the partisan spin game, your target can never honestly be advancing the nation's interests in a good way.

The truth is that for the first time in the history of the world, we're entering a situation where 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th rate military powers will be capable of taking out entire cities before any retributive military campaign can be launched. Those relatively weak militaries are often attached to equally weak political systems and they are not reliable, not even conventionally deterrable because the people who rule the country have the bulk of their wealth elsewhere and would be just as comfortable pulling the strings in another land.

You can't successfully run an empire in such an atmosphere because too many players can relatively easily get weapons that make them unincorporable into such an entity. Furthermore empires, by their very nature, create the type of resentment that fuels the desire for weapons of mass destruction among those not part of the favored core of an empire.

Once you mistake (purposefully or accidentally) the new security realities our republic has to deal with a desire for empire building, you can only descend into a comedy of errors. Josh Marshall descends pretty far.

Posted by TMLutas at February 1, 2004 05:47 PM